While most games feature an avatar, a guy, a cute little ball with eyes, or some variation of an animal, nothing trumps the game that lets you imagine the avatar while making it clear that there IS one.
Adam Schwartz’s Gator Alley puts you in the pond with the alligators. You, the avatar, are swimming, moving to keep yourself alive. The concept is brilliant. Rather than giving you cheap music or out of place sound effects, the only thing you hear is what you would hear: water movement, and deep breathing.
Moving your finger around the screen you must avoid the alligators, which of course multiply in number. I think the multiplication factor is one of those fears we all have deep inside us when we’re confronted with danger: Is there going to be more. We believe we can beat one alligator on the head with an oar or hit it where it matters. But what about 2 alligators? What if there were 3? Could it still be done?
What if there was a growing number making every second alive valuable? Of course each additional second counts more when you have Game Center available to rank your survival skills in the pond with other players.
The worst happens when you get attacked by the gator and realize that you, the avatar are left to your imagination regarding which alarm just came off; which leg is left paralyzed in the murky waters of the pond. All is over when your life reaches 0%.
But not before you hear a blood-curdling scream. Oh wait, that’s you!! But you and I both know, you’re not going to let that happen, since you can beat the ranks and put your name at the top since after all, who can’t move their finger around on the screen?
P.S. In case you’re wondering, the quote at the top is from Keane’s “Everybody’s Changing”: “You’re aching, you’re breaking and I can see the pain in your eyes”. I’m sure all of that applies to anyone who truly is in a pond with gators.